tv Democracy Now LINKTV May 11, 2017 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
05/11/17 05/11/17 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from seattle, washington, this is democracy now! >> why did you five director comey? pres. trump: he was not doing a good job. amy: did president trump fire fbi director james comey just days after comey asked the justice department for more resources to investigate the trump campaign's ties to russia before the 2016 election? we'll speak with history professor ruth ben-ghiat who
argues this could be trump at his most dangerous. her book in progress is titled, "strongmen: from mussolini to trump." we will also get response from socialist city seattle councilmember kshama sawant. then we speak to one of the lawyers leading the charge against trump'p's muslim ban. >> if you look at it and say, how in the world can he be trying to tie this to national barring when he is children from coming in to be reunited with their parents? their parents are already living here, who are united states is distance and lawful permanent residents? amy: we will speak with matt adams. he is fighting an order from the department of justice that instructs his group to cease and desist from assisting unrepresented immigrants facing deportation. and the department of energy has declared a state of emergency at the hanford nuclear site here in
washington state. storingfter a tunnel radidioactive material collapse, forcrcing hundreds of workererso tatake cover in place to avoid potential exposure. >> the excxcavator here that throughout the d day will place scoop full after scoop full of soil into the c collapsed portin of the tunnel, which is approximately herere. important anoka again, we're doing this focused on employee safety. there has been no reports of radiological intimidation so far. no employee injuries. all of that in more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. more details are coming to light about president trump's firing of fbi director james comey. "the new york times" is reporting comey's dismissal came
just days after he asked the justice department for more resources to expand the bureau's investigation into russia's meddling in the presidential election. comey made the appeal to deputy attorney general rod rosenstein, the same official who wrote the memo trump later used to justify comey's firing. meanwhile, the "washington post" reports rosenstein has threatened to resign after the white house cast him as the main instigator in the firing of comey. the white house has given conflicting explanations as to why comey was dismissed. privately, white house aides say trump was infuriated by comey's recent congressional testimony about the fbi probe into russia. but during a press briefing on wednesday, deputy white house press secretary sarah huckabee sanders accused comey of committing atrocities wile -- while investigating former democratic presidential nominee hillary clinton's use of a private email server. >> i think also having a letter
like the one h he received and having that conversation that basic atrocities in circumventing the chain of command in the department of justice. amy: on capitol hill, senate majority leader mitch mcconnell has rejected calls from senate democrats for a special prosecutor. meanwhile, senate minority leader chuck schumer warned comey's firing is part of a troubling pattern. >> heart of a deeply troubling pattern from the trump administration. they fired sally yates. they fired prover are a. and now they fired director comey, the very man leading the investigation. this does not seem to be a coincidence. amy: in his first public comment since his dismissal, former fbi director james comey urged agents at the fbi to remain "a rock of competence, honesty, and
independence." in the letter comey went on to , say -- "i have long believed that a president can fire an fbi director for any reason, or for no reason at all. i'm not going to spend time on the decision or the way it was executed. i hope you won't either." meanwhile, the senate intelligence committee has issued a subpoena to donald trump's former national security advisor general michael flynn for documents regarding his interactions with russian officials including russia's ambassador to the u.s. sergey kislyak. senate investigators have also sought documents from trump's former campaign chairman paul manafortrt, formerer campaign foreign policy adviser carter page, and former adviser roger stone. these developments all occurred on the same day that president trump hosted russian foreign minister sergey lavrov and russia's ambassador sergey kislyak at the white house to talk about syria and other issues.
politico reports trump invited lavrov after a request from russia president vladimir putin. a white house spokesman said -- "he chose to receive him because putin asked him to. putin did specifically ask on the call when they last talked." the white house faced some criticism for allowing the russian state media agency tass inside the white house to take photographs while barring all u.s. media. trump also spent part of the day on wednesday morning with henry kissinger, who served d as president t richard nixon's secretary of state. education secretary betsy devos was repeatedly booed and heckled wednesday when she addressed graduating seniors at the historically black college bethune-cookman university in flororida. many students turned their backs on devos. jackson, board of trustees, thank you so very, very much for this great honor and privilege. [boos]
i am honored to become a wildcat. [boos] and it is a real honor and privilege to be with you as we celebrate the bassoon cookman university class of 2017. louder,the booing grew school president edison jackson interrupted her commencement address to issue a warning t to ststudents. this -- if this behavior , your degrees will be mailed to you. amy: despite the warning, many students get booing with our backs s turned to dedevos. more than 60,000 people hadd signed petitions opposing selection of devos as commencement speaker at the university. devos was widely criticized in
february when she said historically black colleges and universities "real pioneers when it comes to school choice." health and human services secretary tom price has defended the recent arrest of a journalist in west virginia who attempted to ask him a question in the hallway of the west virginia state capitol. dan heyman of public news service was arrested and jailed on $5,000 bail after he repeatedly asked price whether domestic violence would be categorized as a pre-existing condition under the new republican healthcare plan. on wednesday, price said the arrest was justified. >> i want to commend the west virginia capitol police as they felt was appropriate him a we thank them for the work they do. it is important to appreciate -- that tournament was not in a press conference. we were walking down a hall. the capitol police acted as they felt necessary and i would refer any questions to them. amy: in other news from
washington, the head of the census bureau has unexpectedly resigned just as the department prepares for the 2020 census which will determine how many seats each state gets in congress. john thompson had served in the post since 2013. in a surprising victory for environmentalists, the senate has rejected a resolution to revoke an obama-era rule to limit methane emissions from oil and gas production on federal lands. methane is a powerful greenhouse gas directly linked to global warming. three republicans voted against the bill -- john mccain of arizona, lindsey graham of south carolina, and susan collins of maine. in other environmental news, and north carolina house has voted 74 to 40 to override governor roy cooper's veto of a bill that would have shielded factory farms from damages brought by was evidence -- residents sickened by hog farms. the bill now goes to the north carolina senate. residents have long complained about pork producers who collect
billions of gallons of untreated pig feces and urine in cesspools, then dispose of the waste by spraying it into the air. you can go to our website democracynow.org to see an extended discussion about factory hog farms in north carolina. a new study is predicting glacier national park will be glacier-free in the coming decades. in the late 19th century, the park, which is in montana's rocky mountains, had 150 glaciers. today, the number is down to 26 and many of those are rapidly shrinking. in south korea, moon jae-in has been sworn in as the country's new president. in his inanaugural address thehe former human r rights lawyerer d to bring peace to the kore peninsula. >> i will urgently try to solve the security crisis. i i will always be in the mood r peace. ifif necessary, i will fly
straight to washington. i will go to beijing and tokyo. if the conditions allow, to pyongyang as well. amy: the united nations is reporting as many as 245 refugees died last weekend in a pair of shipwrecks off the coast of libya. so far, more than 1300 people have died this year trying to cross the mediterranean from libya. on wednesday, the libyan coastguard intercepted nearly 500 refugees packed onto a wooden boat t and returned themo tripoli. the refugees were attempting to reach a boat operated by the european ngo sea-watch. one of refugees had fled the violence in syria. >> i have been trying to migrate to europe for the past six months to rejoin my children. i left the war in syria and went to jordan where i did not benefit from anything, as it is still an arab country. i then went to lebanon where i was not accepted. egypt was the same and sudan was the same. i want to libya, also in a were similar to syria. i'm now tried to go to europe
for my children. because europe respects human rights. arabs do not have human rights. syria, theis from syrian observatory for human rights is reporting u.s. let air have killed at least 11 people, including four children, in a village north of the syrian city of raqqa. in new york, hundreds of students and faculty at stony brook university held sit-ins and demonstrations wednesday to protest the proposed $1.5 million budget cuts to the humanities and language departments. the cuts would particularly affect the hispanic languages and cultural studies. this is one of the students speaking at wednesday's protest. >> i am a grad student. we can here to prorotest against thee irratational cuts against r department. we stand for the high-quality
quality of the research and for diversity. we think these cuts are discriminatory measures taken against the latino community. protests wereday held across mexico on wednesday. mothers held up portraits of their missing children and demanded the government do more to find their sons and daughters. amnesty international estimates that more than 27,000 people have disappeared or gone missing in mexico in recent years. marchers included delia garcia, whose son was kidnapped more than seven years ago. >> tell us where our children are. it is a feeling of desperation. with the passing of time, the pain is more unbearable. we will l keep coming untitil we die. amy: and in new orleans, city officials have rememoved a state this morning of former confederate president jefferson davis. this marks the second coconfederate monument to comeme down in the city a after a city council votete in 2015. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!,
democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we are broadcasting from seattle, washington. more details are coming to light about president trump's firing of fbi director james comey. "the new york times" is reporting comey's dismissal came just days after he asked the justice department for more resources to expand the bureau's investigation into russia's meddling in the presidential election. comey made the appeal to deputy attorney general rod rosenstein who wrote the memo trump later , used to justify comey's firing. meanwhile, the "washington post" reports rosenstein has threatened to quit after the white house cast him as the main instigator in the firing of comey. the white house has given conflicting explanations as to why comey was dismissed. during a press briefing on deputy white house press wednesday, secretary sarah huckabee sanders said comey committed atrocities when investigating former democratic presidential nominee hillary
clinton's emails, and cited the letter from rosenstein as having contntributed to trump''s decisn to fire cocomey now. >> i think also having a letter like the one that he received and having that conversation that outlined the basic -- just atrocities in circumventing the chain of command in the department of justice. amy: when huckabee was asked when president trump lost confidence in comey, this was her response. >> i think that director comey has shown over the last several months, frankly, t the last yea, a lot of missteps and mistakes, and certainly, i think, as you have seen from many of the comments from democrat members, including senator schumer, they do not think he should be there. they thought he should be gone. frankly, i think it is startling that democrats are not
celebrating this since they have been calling for it for so long. amy: meanwhile, on wednesday, president trump met with former sergey lavrov. among those participating in the meeting were russian ambassador to the u.s. sergey kislyak, whose contacts with trump advisers are under investigation by the f fbi and former secretay of statete henry kissinger. after trump's opening remarks, a reporter asked himhy he firered fbi director comey. dr.s. t trump: everybody knows kissinger. we are talking about russia and various other matters. but it is an honoror to have hey kissinger with us. he has been a friend of mine for a long time. they give very much for being here. >> why did you fire director comey? pres. trump: because he wasn't doing a good job. he was not doing a good job. amy: as a candidate, trump cheered comey's tough stance on clinton's use of a personal
email and private internet server while she was secretary of state. trump is the first president since richard nixon to fire a law enforcement official who was overseeing an investigation tied to the white house. president bill clinton dismissed william sessions amid allegations of ethical lapses in 1993. as the developments fueled concerns trump is trying to undermine a probe that could threaten his presidency, capitol hill senate majority leader mitch mcconnell rejected calls for a special prosecutor into the russia investigation that came from outraged democrats like vermont democratic senator , patrick leahy. >> this is not just a scandal. the president's actions are neither republican or democratic. they are authoritarian. this is an effort to undo the ties that bind our democratic form of government. all of us, both sides of the aisle.
we must now put country over party. amy: in his first public comment on his firing, former fbi director james comey wrote a letter to agents at the fbi urging them to remain "a rock of competence, honesty, and independence" and noting -- "i have long believed that a president can fire an fbi director for any reason, or for no reason at all. i'm not going to spend time on the decision or the way it was executed. i hope you won't either." all of this comes as the senate intelligence committee on wednesday subpoenaed former trump national security adviser michael flynn for documents related to its investigation into russia's election meddling. former fbi director comey was supposed to be a star witness for the committee, but acting fbi director andrew mccabe will now testify instead. for more, we go to new york. we're joined by ruth ben-ghiat a , professor of history and italian studies at new york university. she is currently working on a book entitled "strongmen: from mussolini to trump."
professor, welcome to democracy now! talk about, first, the firing and your thoughts as you see this go down, president trump firing the fbi director james comey who was investigating the trump campaign. >> sure. some people, including republicans, are now trying to spin this as trump thing trump, impulsive action just out of grievance. i see differently. was trump says that comey not doing his job, he means comey was obstructing him from using the office of the presidency to further his personal goals. because authoritarians believe the institutions should serve them and not the other way around. so i see this has completely consistent with his temperament
and his agenda of colonizing the country to make it serve his personal interest. wayscan you talk about the you see this trend of authoritarianism being expressed by trurump? he is only been in office now for a few months. >> sure. during the campaign, he started with a very important point, which was forging these bonds with the public that were based on loyalty to him. it has come up repeatedly that he felt comey wasn't loyal to him and loyalty is the most important thing. because authoritarians forge bonds based on their person and not on allegiance to a party or principle. trump does back end too muchch about the gop. it got him to power and got him the nomination, but it is just a vehicle for him. that is part of it. the other part, former senior intelligence official said the
way that james comey -- the way comey was fired was like an execution. trump is a proposal does proponent of the doctrine of surprise. this is the cut of threat to the fbi come to the american public which is consistent with the kind of dangerous persona he has had. i want to remind everyone that in january 2016 when he was on the campaign trail, he said "i could stand on fifth avenue and shoot someone and would not lose any followers." this, for me, was a turning point. it meant he was giving us a message that he considered himself to be above the law. and he was testing the gop, which is what authoritarians do -- they test on their way up and once they're in power, to see how much they think it away with. the gop rewarded him with the nomination. so he feels emboldened now that he's in power to do exactly this kind of thing. i would to go to senate
minoririty leader r chuck schum, democrat of new york. >> this is part of a deeply troubling pattern from the trump administration. they fired sally yates. they fired preparest. and now they fired director comey, the very man leading the investigation. this does not seem to be a coincidence. amy: speaking on cnn wednesday, democratic senator richard blumenthal of connecticut called the trump's decision to fire comey a looming constitutional crisis. comeyisagree with james in some of his decisions, but i never advocated that he be andd, particularly before inspector general within the department of justice was looking at those actions. rod rosenstein come in effect, preempted that ongoing internal investigation, fired him, using
a pretense that is laughable, the decisions on the clinton email, some 10 months ago. what we have now is a looming constitutional crisis that is deadly serious. amy: president trump last out at senator blumenthal. instead of addressing the comments, trump attacked blumenthal's military record. in a series of tweets, trump wrote -- "watching senator richard blumenthal speak of comey is a joke. "richie" devised one of the greatest military frauds in u.s. history. for years, as a pol in connecticut, blumenthal would talk of his great bravery and conquests in vietnam -- except he was never there. when caught, he cried like a baby and begged for forgiveness and now he is judge and jury. he should be the one who is investigated for his acts." senator blumenthal returned to cnn later on wednesday and was asked by anderson cooper how serious this could get. >> it mamay well produduce anotr itited states s rsus nixon on a subpbpoena that t would to the united states of bring court. it may well produce impeachment
proceedings, although, we are very far from that possibility. amy:'s a professor ruth ben-ghiat, can you talk about what the senators are saying and what you see might be, though you would be high-pressure to say, what is about to unfold? >> noah can tell what is going to happen. in the past, once elites are co-opted to authoritarian, it can be very difficult for pragmatic reason for them to jump ship. was perfectly legal for trump to fire the fbi director. what is at issue is the politicization of the judiciary and intelligence, which he is been doing all along, and the method. so this depends on what the gop is going to do. i'm a bit pessimistic about
their having the political will, the unified political will to see this through to get rid of trump. i also want to highlight, though, the comparison with watergate leaves out the very, very important for an dimension. this is a trump-russia probe. firing comey in the way he did was very important message that trump sent to the world. number one, to all of his fellow authoritarians -- and we have seen how he calls the president of turkey, invites duterte of the philippines to the white house -- he has gone out of his way to forge ties and show allegiance to this kind of leadership. above all, his russian claim. i thought it was a tragedy for our democracy does he trump in the overall this does oval office with her russian foreign minister the day after this
happened. this is a strong signal his russian client and to authoritarians all over the world that he means business in the business is their business. , thevery interesting headline i just read at the top of the show "yes on the same day president trump posted the russian foreign minister, sergey lavrov, and russia's ambassador sergey kislyak at the white house, political reports trump invited lavrov after request putin,ssian president white house spokesman said he chose to receive him because putin asked him to. he did ask on the call when they last talked. the white house faced some criticism or allowing the mediation to take photographs while barring all u.s. media. your thoughts? >> i feel terribly sad for our democracy when i saw that post of being also a historian of
propaganda, you cannot underestimate the impact of acquiescing to request to have the foreign minister in their and apparently, news reports that trump was duped a bit because he was told the the personalwas photographer of the foreign minister. when in fact, the person was also taking pictures fortass and the state agency. think of the impact that has for russia and u.s. media was not allowed in. the sizes security concerns, which have been raised with having russians in the oval office thi with the photographer and the most sensitive space of america, it sends a message that russia has one. and that trump is indeed willing to do what they say. so i felt this was a great tragedy and a kind of culmination of all of the things that have been said and alleged
during this russia-trump investigation so far. professor, you are a professor of history and italian studies at nyu and you are writing a book comparing trump to mussolini. can you explain? >> yes, so i am pushed many times in the media to label trump a fascist. i have never done that because trump is not aiming to establish a one-party state. imagine, much work, i and he does that need to. the thing about authoritarians today, and we can look at turkey and elsewhere and even in russia , you don't need of a dictatorship in the classic sense to a cobbler sure goals. you can intimidate people. you can try to control the press. you can attack the judiciary, the media, the institutions without having to ban parties in a traditional fascist manner.
that said, there are many similarities. one of them i mentioned before. there is this testing period that the authoritarian is doing to see how much he can get away with. what is the appetite of the political elites and the public for violence? this goes back to trump's, that he could shoot someone -- this is quite extraordinary. mussolini did the same thing as did hitler. the other element is people don't take these people seriously until it is too late. i have been trying to warn the public, along with many other people, about the dangers, including this article you mentioned most recently, the dangers these memen bring with them. on the time people realize, it is too late -- i the time people realize, it is too late. amy: i want to thank you for being with us, ruth ben-ghiat, professor of history and italian studies at new york university. she is currently working on a
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we are in seattle, washington. i will be back in new york tomorrow speaking of the new school. right now we continue our coverage of president trump's firing of fbi director james comey. "the new york times" is reporting the dismissal came just days after he asked the justice department for more resources to expand the bureau's investigation into russia's meddling in the presidential election. speaking to fox news, newt gingrich defended trump's decision t to fire c comey. >> the key fact is that the brand-new deputy attorney
general, who is a 30 year career professional in the justice department, who is president barack obama's u.s. attorney for maryland, who was, just two weeks ago, e endorsed by the -- this is thex person who wrote the letter which is devastating and said it is clear that, cannot we the fbi, that he has made such a series of mistakes that it has crippled the morale of the fbi. he goes to letter, siding attorney general after attorney general after attorney general -- all of them saying what comey has done violates totally the fbi. amy: for more, we're joined by kshama sawant, socialist city councilmember here in seattle, washington, where we are broadcasting from. sawant helped win a $15 an hour minimum wage for all workers in seattle. she is also member of socialist alternative. welcome back to democracy now! can you respond to president
comey, firing of james who many d democrats have attacd for a long time feeling that he actually meddled in the 2016 election by going after hillary clinton or saying publicly the fbi was, and yet now we know he at the same time was going after donald trump, but never mentioned this? >> thank you for having me, amy. it is true the firing of james politicaln extremely event. it was on display the authoritarianan streak of the trumump administration. it also shows the administration in deep crisis. correct.pletely a lot of ordinary working people around us are talking about this as, is there a potential to maybe start impeachment proceedings on trump. there is also this will question in the media -- and i think rightly so -- whether there is a
whiff of the nixon your watergate scandal. there is some truth to that. workingsay ordinary people, people like us, like most of the people watching the show are concerned, i don't think the most important quesestion is whether or not the fbi director was fired -- i will say why, because the fbi itself is part of a racist and repressive security and state appaparatus. it has a long track record of targeting black activist. at the end of the day, the larger question is that so much about that, but about what this indicates as far as the status of the administration is concerned and what should we be doing about it. i think a lot of people correctly want trump out. i what trump out. but i want to republicans, the billionaire class, and the security state out o of power. how do we accomplish that? in addition to the watergate as a memory from the nixon-era,
there's another relevant educational memory we should draw upon when the nixon-era. it was during nixon's regime and the white house that we had one of the most historic eras a social and political and workers movement. it was when nixon was in the white house we had the environment protection agency formed from the occupational safety and health act was passed, the supreme court landmark decision of roe v. wade was decided, and the vietnam war was ended. none of this was because of nixon in any way. he was a misogynist, racist, right-t-wing president. it was because movements were drawing the conclusion that it is time to really build on her own independent strength. i think we can do that right now as well. in relation to call me, i would say that it --comey, i was a it is indicative of the instability of his administration. but we cannot wait for whether or not there will be a smoking gun that will be found in the
investigation, which of course, should go forward. the question is, what do we do now? i think right now, the time is right to really build social movement. i don't know if your viewers saw this, but one of the sociologist recently in america said, there is no protest critique happening right now. that is the wrong conclusion to draw. people are starting to come into a state of revolt like never before in our generation, at least. and you can see the rise of the popularity of socialism among younger generations. strike actions on may 1 were significant. ultimately, a very strong indicator of what already happened in trump's regime is the airport actions that happened in late january that were decisive factor, the civil disobedience and shut down -- these shut down airports. that was a decisive factor in giving trump's first sinking d muslimn his attempte
ban. we need more of those movements. if people are taking notice, it is correct and let's get organized. now towant to turn right senator bernie sanders of vermont responding to trump's decision to fire james comey. sen.n. sanders: i ihink it isisa situation where e the presidents impeding a sigignificant invevestigation n to determine whetheher in fact there was collusion between the trump campaign and the russian government. as you know, rusussia has been interfering in e elections big-time in germany, in ukraine -- many countries aroundnd the world. our intelligence agencies all agree they interfered significantly in the american electition. they were in france last week trying too elect le pen, very right-wing individual. this is an investigation that
has to go forward in a nonpartisan way. amy: your thoughts on what senator sanders said and where you feel movements n need toto o fromom here? there is also discussion about the possibility of this being the beginning of the end, the possibility of impeachment, though, that would take a lot of republicans coming on board. what would make that happen, kshama sawant? >> i completely agree with bernie sanders that the investigation into the russian involvement in the election process in the u.s. should be investigated completely, nonpartisanin a basis. but i would say if you're talking about interference in elections, look at the interference of the u.s. regime. -- to be clear, we should be absolutely clear that we are not on the side of putin. he is an oppressive figure.
who are joining protesest movements in thehe u., we should be in solidarity with the working people, young people in russia who are courageously and in great danger to the personal lives speaking out against putin. muchould not see this so from a nationalistic standpoint and rather from the standpoint of what is happening all across the world, especially in the united states and in europe. what you're saying, including with the crisis of the trump regime, bernie sanders mention the election, but, you know, in france, but ththe right-wing marine le pen was not elected. macron was elected. the vast majority people who voted for macron said they voted because they wanted to keep the right-wing out. they have no illusions in the neoliberal apparatus that will be upheld by macron. what we're seeing on both sides of the atlantic, really, is a
whole new generation, the stork period of revolt -- an historic period of revolt. a survey recently said there are far more likely to participate in an uprising meant to vote. in reality, what message we should be drawing from the , thes in the trump regime kremlin of the legitimacy of the ruling classes everywhere, is that this is exactly the moment for us to build our movements, not to be complacent, not to wait for an impeachment to happen, but to recognize thatt trump, as vicious as he is, as vicious as his right-wing billionaire backed administration is, wee can defet him. we have shown in through the airport actions, through the revovolt that happeneded againse careier version of trump that this can be done. it is important that sanders is a figure in this discussion because if you're talking about
the most important issue for americans right now, it is health care. the newest version of trumpcare was just past through the house. what is our strategy to fight against it? biggest reason that trump and the republicans and the right wing are able to push through newer and newer versions of vicious attacks on health care is because we have no real alternative to keep out the for-profit industry. really, the only alternative is to fight for single payer medicare for all. a majority of americans want publicly funded affordable health care. single-payeyer. amy: kshama sawant, isn't there a single pair referendum being put forward in washington state where we are right now? >> that is exactly right. there is an attempt for referendum on single-payer health care in washington. this is being done by grassroots activists. in california, there is a real
energy in the grassroots, in the movement to push for single payer health care. so the question that we should be asking is, why is it when the majority of the people what single-payer, why is it that the prominent democrat, nancy pelosi, said single-payer would not be in the democratic party platform? why is it in democratic dominated states of washington, oregon, california -- all of these have democratic governors. white isn't it they are -- why aren't the prominent democrats joining the movement on the ground and saying, let's fight for single payer and make sure we have a west coast single-payer health care. if governor brown said, i want to fight it with you, he would get a huge ago and they would win. instead, he is an obstacle to it. you said, i don't know how we can do this. movements ultimately,
does we cannot rely on corporate democrats. we will have to build indefinitely and fight for desk indefinitely and fight for single-payer health care. amy: kshama sawant, thank you for being with us. she spearheaded the movement to win a $15 an hour minimum wage for all workers in seattle. she is also member of socialist alternative. when we come back, an attorney who is suing jeff sessions, the attorney general of the united states. we will find out why y and we wl talk about the dramatic situation that is developing at hanford karen washington, d.c., around radioactive materials. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
amy: you can see our whole interview the musical performances in our studios at democracynow.org. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we are broadcasting from seattle, washington. on monday, a federal appeals court in richmond, virginia, heard arguments over trump's second muslim ban, which sought to ban all refugees and citizens of six majority muslim nations from entering the united states. the 13-panel of judges appeared to be divided over the ban. some said trump's own statements showed the second travel ban still sought to unconstitutionally discriminate against people based on their religion. this is judge henry floyd. 2 was executive order son, sean spicer said the principles remain the same. president trump's statement, concurrent with that time, "you know my plans stop spicer,
president trump, yesterday continued to deliver on campaign promises. is anything other than willful blindness that will prevent us from getting -- amy: another judge, robert king, pointed out that until monday, trump's campaign website had continued to call for a "total and complete shutdown of muslims entering the united states." the white house removed that page during monday's hearing, after facing questions from reporters. for more, we're joined here in seattle by matt adams, legal director for the northwest immigrant rights project and lead counsel for the class action lawsuit challenging the trump administration's executive order. his lawsuit was filed in seattle on behalf of three parents legally living in the u.s. who are now restricted from bringing their children from somalia, syria, and yemen. matt adams, welcome back to democracy now! explain what your lawsuit is all about and how jeff sessions is also one of your targets. >> thank you. yes, so our lawsuit is parallel to what is happening in maryland and now will be reviewed in
seattle, washington, the lawsuit challenging the muslim ban. ours differs in that ours is on behalf of of u.s. citizen unlawful permanent residents who filed immigrant visa petitions for their spouses and children, and sherman are being separated from them because of the ban or, at least, until the court intervened and placed a hold on trump's ban. from the perspective of those who are directly affected and separated from their loved ones. just to be clear, this is separate from our lawsuit challenging ththe department of actions in sessions' particular. how you you talk about have taken on jeff sessions? your group, the northwest immigrant rights project, filing a lawsuit in federal district court challenging an order from
the department of justice that instructs your group to cease and desist from assisting unrepresented immigrants in deportation proceedings. the gog -- the doj saying the group cannot provide legal help to undocumented immigrants unless it undertakes formal representation of the clients. their letter said your group, northwest immigrant rights project's practice of representing aliens before the executive office for immigration review without filing the appropriate notice of entry of appearance form is in violation of federal regulations. and i say that in quotes. we don't use that word "aliens." matt adams, talk about what jeff sessions, the attorney general, is saying here and saying you cannot do. > what they're saying is that if we encounter someone who does not have legal representation, that we are unable -- we e are being o ordered to refrain from assisting those individuals unless we take on their case for
full representation. but of course, what this means is the vast majority of individuals will not receive any legal assistance. for example, just 40 minutes south of seattle, there is a detention center where 1500 individuals are locked up was that of those 1500 people, 90% of them do not have an attorney. does ourney organization represents as many as we can, but that is just a small portion of the 1500 individuals locked up. in addition to the hundreds of people that we help out and take on full representation, we provide workshops, how others feel out application forms, help them filed motions to reopen cases. now the department of justice said, no, if you're not taking on full representation, then you are ordered to cease and desist helping those individuals. this is something we have been done for 30 years, providing limited services. this is something that nonprofit organizations all across the country do to help out
inepresented individuals deportation proceedings. yet the government is relying on a regulation they implemented in 2009 supposedly to target attorney misconduct and fraud to say, no, it would not be fair to the unrepresented immigrants if we provided them this assistance without taking on their full case. knowing very well that we don't have the resources to take on their case and knowing very well that the government does not provide them with appointed counsel. the one last point i would make on that, what is most ironic, for the last six years, we have been litigating against the federal government for their failure to provide attorneys for people in removal proceedings, saying that makes a mockery of the constitutional requirement that they receive a fair hearing. government's defense all along has been, well, there are many things that can be done doubt these people like these limited services that are provided to them. now they turn around and order
as to stop p providing this limited servicices. amy: matt adams, thank you for being with us, lead counsel for the class action lawsuit challenging the trump administration's executive order . his lawsuit filed here in seattle on behalf of three parents legally living in the u.s. who are now restricted from their kids from somalia, syria, and yemen. we turn now to our last segment. we continue to focus on what is happening at a state and local level that is happening all over the country. next week, we will be traveling throughout california and broadcasting throughout their. you can check our website at democracynow.org to see where we will be. at right here in washington state where the department of energy declared a state of emergency at thehe hanford nuclr site after a tunnel storing contaminated radioactive materials collapsed as the
subject of our last segment. the collapse, which was discoverered tuesday, forceded hundndreds of workers to take cover, to shelter in place to avoid potentiaial exposure. locastatation king 5 5 obtainend this video from a worker describing the scene.. report forrsonnel furtrther instruction. all p personnelel should refrain [inaudible] is either a drill or an emergency. [sirens] got to take cover. amamy: hananford is the e nati's momost polluted nuclear weapons production site. the site has been leakaking radioactive waste on and off for years. the energy department claims no radioactive contamination has been reported so far from tuesday's tunnel collapse.
but edwin lyman from the union of concerned scientists said -- "collapse of the earth covering the tunnels could lead to a considerable radiological release." now the state of washington's department of ecology's nuclear waste program has announced on twitter it has taken legal action against hanford. for more, we are joined in seattle by tom carpenter, executive director of hanford challenge, which advocates for workers at the hanford nuclear site. tom, welcome to democracy now! explain what has taken place. given what is happening in washington, d.c., there is little national awareness that what you are dealing with in washington. >> ok, so the nation's most contaminated site. washington here, it was built to make nuclear weapons, plutonium for those weapons. now we are left with his legacy of radioactive waste. what recently happened on tuesday morning was one of the
facilities at the site suffered a collapse of a tunnel holding vast quantities a very highly dangerous radioactive materials. the government is saying none of that escaped, except radiation is self, into the sky, but no particles escaped. so now thehe question n remains, is that true? or workers contaminated? it appears not. what i is the next shoe that iss going to fall? know there are chemicals, explosive materials. there could be fires that happen . we are all watching with bated breath. amy: can you explain what the pure exist, -- purex is? >> this was a facility that was used to his old spent nuclear fuel made in nuclear reactors on
the shores of the columbia river. they had nine reactors. this facility would dissolve thisis stuff in acid, separate t the plutonium. and this large inventory of highly radioactive and chemical waste product left over. that is what is at hanford now. amy: can you explain the history of the hanford site and its role in the u.s. nunuclear program? >> sure. hanford was the first production thelity that came out of work at law sell a most during world war ii. so it may be plutonium for the first nuclear test in the deserts of new mexico. and the plutonium dropped on nagasaki, japanan, in the fat mn bomb. it went on then to make more and more to tony m. it does this by radiating uranium slugs and then taking that, dissolving it in a process called reprocessing.
in hanford, became the most contaminated facility as a result. it is hard to describe exactly how bad this place is. it has two thirds of the nation's high-level nuclearar wastste. 56 million gallons of this waste and underground leaking tanks. this one little tunnel that was the subject of tuesday's collapse was really a small thing comparered to what else is out at that site. you can imagine a collapse of a nuclear waste tank containing millions of trees s of raradioactivity. you're talking about a multistate disaster.r. ttse tanks are in no better shape than this tunnel. that is the concern is that the federal government spent trillions of dollars to make nuclear weapons month b b shortchahanging us on the c clep at the siteses. it is s suppos t to take years d years. ththe moneyy is being ststolen.
it is a fraud factory in a way. so the public is really getting shafted on this one. amy: very quickly, you have sued the federal government on behalf of the workers at hanford. we have less than a men up. can you explain what you have sued over, what you're demanding, and with this latest accident, what needs to happen? >> so we brought a lawsuit along with the union at the hanford site, the pipe hitters union and the state of washington, to force the governrnment to provie better protections for the workers out there who inhale chemical vapors and then get sick. sadly, people e are not being protected, even though there are some pretty great help injuries that result. we're demanding that people are protected with respiratory protection in the future and that they do something to protect these people. this latest incident is a great illustration of how workers are on the frontlines of harm out there.
amy: tom, thanks for being with us, executive director of hanford challenge, which advocates for workers at the hanford nuclear site. that does it for our show. i am heading back to new york on friday night as we continue our multicity tour covering the movement changing america. i will be speaking in new york city friday night at the tishman auditorium on fifth avenue at 7:00 p.m. on saturday, may 13, i will be in olympia, washington at 11:00 a.m. and then a pal's books in beaverton, oregon saturday night at 5:00. then off t to california, stoppg in eureka sunday at noon at the sequoia conference center is of :00 p.m., berkeley of the first presbyterian church. monday in santa cruz in the evening we will be in palo alto. tuesday in san diego. then los angeles, then santa barbara. we're going beyond. we will be in santa fe, new
♪ laura: may day. in much of t the w world, it's a worker's holiday celebrating the achievements of the e organized lalabor movement like the eieigt hour work day and the weekend. it's been a day of lalabor protes g going back to hundred years but also a day of defiant going back furtherer. and the c celebration of f spri, rebirth, c community, , and defe of the comommons. we celebrate the resilience of activists and ththeir demand's have not c changed all that much ovover the century. we feaeature some of the actctos behind t this year's mayday from beyond the moment across movement coalition and others.